Ride to Resilience
"Ride to Resilience," by Concrete Queenz, is an inclusive after-school skateboarding program engaging 50 girls from Green Dot Public Schools in South LA. The program merges mentor-guided skateboarding curriculum with resilience-building activities, empowering participants through sport and fostering mental well-being. By leveraging the mentorship of Olympic-bound professionals, it uniquely addresses play equity within a historically male-dominated arena.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Play Equity to Advance Mental Health (sponsored by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation)
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Pilot or new project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Concrete Queenz seeks to address the growing mental health crisis among women ages 18 and under, particularly those from marginalized and low-income communities in South Los Angeles where there is limited access to sports and structured play for young girls. Green Dot Public Schools has 19 schools with over 11,000 students across Los Angeles, and 94% of its students are classified as low-income, which is 18% higher than the Los Angeles Unified School District. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified youth mental health problems -- including student anxiety, depression, anger and suicidal ideation. School administrators have been scrambling to implement programs for prevention and early intervention that are equitable and accessible. Studies in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that participation in physical activities that foster resilience, such as skateboarding, can reduce stress that leads to those mental health problems among youth.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Concrete Queenz will launch "Ride to Resilience," an after-school skateboarding program that will engage 50 girls ages 18 and under from Green Dot Public Schools during the 2023-2024 school year. The program addresses the mental health crisis that South LA schools face by providing administrators with an accessible and inclusive model for physical activity and resilience-building that starts with a skateboard, helmet, pads, shoes, and any flat ground surface. We combine a mentor-guided skateboarding curriculum with a supportive community environment of industry professionals who understand the unique challenges girls face. These mentors, experienced Olympic-bound skateboarders and advocates for equity in the sport, will provide not just technical guidance, but also emotional support and role modeling. Activities include weekly skill-building sessions, monthly mentor-led discussions on topics like perseverance and self-confidence, and a culminating field trip to a skatepark to record footage as part of each student's capstone portfolio. By weaving skateboarding lessons with empowerment themes, we nurture both physical and mental resilience. "Ride to Resilience" is unique as it addresses play equity directly within a historically male-dominated sport, providing girls a sense of belonging and achievement. The program not only promotes physical health through skateboarding, but it also fosters a supportive, inclusive community that bolsters mental well-being.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
If "Ride to Resilience" is successful, Los Angeles County will witness a significant shift towards play equity. By increasing participation of South LA girls in skateboarding - an Olympic sport - we hope to see more local representation in regional, national, and potentially, global competitions. Our program will disrupt the gender imbalance in the sport, positioning LA as a leading city in fostering gender inclusivity within skateboarding. Equitable play will be promoted as we create safe, inclusive spaces for girls to learn and practice skateboarding, breaking down barriers that have historically excluded them. Our work aims to develop a generation of girls who are mentally stronger and more equipped to face life's challenges - including stress, anxiety, and depression. Our program will not just physically transform the landscape of South LA, but also shift societal attitudes towards girls in sport, making LA a model city for others to follow.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
To measure success of our early-stage program, Concrete Queenz will adopt a multi-pronged evaluation strategy: (1) Track enrollment, attendance rates, and program retention as a measure of participation. Pre and post-program surveys will gauge the change in participants' attitude towards skateboarding. (2) Create of safe, inclusive spaces will be evaluated through participant feedback, observation of interaction during sessions, and the number of girls continuing to skateboard each year. (3) Employ validated resilience scales (e.g., the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale) pre and post-program to quantify changes in resilience levels and monitor correlations with academic performance and school attendance. (4) Utilize tools like the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire to assess changes in mental health outcomes. (5) Conduct longitudinal studies to evaluate lasting impacts on their mental health, resilience, and continued involvement in skateboarding.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 50
Indirect Impact: 500